Justin Garrison
December 16, 2016

Nest Cam Outdoor vs. Ring Stick Up Cam

Posted on December 16, 2016  •  5 minutes  • 1025 words

The outdoor security camera market didn’t exist much before this year. Then startups realized it was a ripe market for disruption, the old options were terrible, and cameras got smart with motion detection and other features some people never asked for.

Let me start by just saying my requirements for an outdoor camera may not be your requirements. My basic requirements

The long term recordings, 2-way communication, and some other features I don’t need.

Ring Stick Up Cam

After a lot of research I tried the ring first because it looked like a really good option and covered my needs. It also had a rechargeable battery with optional micro-USB power and even had an optional solar panel.

I ended up getting a kit with Ring doorbell, chime, solar panel, and stick up cam which was less expensive than I expected.

Here it is installed on my garage wall.

And here’s the daytime view from the camera.

The application worked well enough. It wasn’t super fast but you could pretty easily set up alerts for motion. They also added a lot of functionality from the time I first installed the camera which was always nice to see. Simple things like being able to view the camera feed at any time (without a motion trigger) and better control over alert zones were welcome additions. Ring also supports sharing cameras with family members (instead of sharing account logins) which was seamless for the Stick Up Cam and ring doorbell.

I had problems with the Stick Up Cam for a few different reasons. Mainly it would often miss motion alerts. When I would go in and out of my back door (far left in video) I’d never get an alert and often I could walk up/down the pathway (far right) without ever receiving an alert. That was a big problem because the alerting is one of the reasons I got the camera. If I can’t trust I’ll get an alert then the camera doesn’t fulfill one of my needs.

The second big problem was the Stick Up Cam wouldn’t switch to night vision mode. It made the camera useless at night. If you can see me I’m standing in the picture below. I’m pretty sure my path lights caused the camera confusion but I could not make it work after multiple conversations with Ring support.

Ring’s support was responsive but was not the best quality when I first started emailing them. It wasn’t until I tweeted about problems I had when their PR department took over the support cases and things got really good. Without a doubt, Ring wants to take care of their customers, but I feel like some of their inexperience and small size is a problem when trying to scale to a bigger audience.

Their support, after my public complaints, was some of the best support I’ve ever received. They called me to make sure all of my concerns were met and promptly offered to send me a new camera and doorbell because they suspected my issues were hardware related. I received the new items which appeared to be slightly newer versions than the items I had just received a month before but I still had the same problems. They also offered to help me with low WiFi signal and helped optimize my camera settings for me.

This led me to try the Nest Cam Outdoor which wasn’t out when I first bought the Ring but was available after a couple months of using the Stick Up Cam.

Nest Cam Outdoor

The Ring came with a bunch of nice stuff to install the camera. They came with a level, a screw driver, anchors, etc. It was really nice. The Nest Cam Outdoor came with screws and anchors but avoided most of the problem through better hardware design. The magnetic mount for the camera and the way it looks on the wall is superb.

The base has two screws and almost everything sticks together with strong magnets. This makes the camera infinitely flexible in angles and really easy to adjust. The setup on the Nest was also something I wasn’t used to. It has a QR code on the camera and you scan it with the app. No need to hop WiFi access points or type in a code.

Here’s the nest view of the same area. The nest has a wider field of view (130° vs 80°) and is 1080p (Ring Stick Up Cam is 720p).

This extra field of view has helped a ton with alerts. I now always get an alert when someone is at my back door or when the car leaves. I even got alerts for things I never knew I was missing. It turns out there have been cats setting off my motion lights at night that the Ring never caught.

The night vision on the Nest didn’t have the same problems the Ring had. Here’s me again at the same time of night.

The Nest also has a much more flexible alerting system (paid feature). Instead of Ring’s predefined alert zones (~15° slices from the camera view) the Nest allows free form zones you can specify for where you want to get alerts. Some alerts can also notify you for motion or only if people are detected . It works surprisingly well.

I’m not sure how, but the Nest Cam Outdoor also didn’t have the weak WiFi signal problem the Ring had. The Stick Up Cam would have trouble staying connected without a WiFi extender and the Nest hasn’t shown any of the same problems.

My biggest question with Nest is what the features will be like once the trial Nest Aware subscription expires. At $100/year it’s the most expensive camera subscription service I’ve looked at, but I’m not sure how much it will degrade my experience  without it.

For the longest time I’ve held off on getting a Nest Thermostat because they just seemed too expensive. But after experiencing how well the Nest Cam Outdoor works I’d really consider it.

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